This week I’m talking with my friend Jordan Childs who is an amazing musician and producer. He tours professionally as a drummer, produces and composes music for indie films and tv and also plays drums and keys for America’s Got Talent. We are discussing the beauty of “retainer gigs,” building genuine relationships, focusing on your character and values and the importance of being disciplined.
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*Grew up playing in church since the age of 9 as the main drummer.
*I was expected to play at a high level.
*Started to expand my musical library learning jazz fusion at 11.
*There is value in combining private lessons and learning on your own.
*Went to Berklee and got a degree in composition and production.
*I did music directing at my dad’s church after Berklee.
*When I moved to L.A. I got plugged in quickly by getting a music directing job at a church because of my experience back home.
*A family friend who has lived in L.A. for over 20 years helped me get my first touring gig here.
*I did a lot of wedding gigs back home before I moved to L.A. so within the first month or so of moving to CA. I was able to get some wedding gigs because a friend from Berklee needed me to sub for him.
*Within the first year and a half in L.A. I met a guy who had gone to Berklee and he changed my life because two weeks after meeting him he posted an audition for a British artist and I got the gig and was on retainer for over a year.
*A retainer gig is when you agree on a certain amount to get paid per month usually and they get priority of my schedule. If I have anything else going on and something comes up with that artist, then since I am on retainer I agree to drop whatever else I am doing to focus on that artist.
*Some musicians that have retainer gigs are not allowed to do other work.
*I started working on production projects during that time and scoring indie films, etc.
*I play drums and keys for different contestants on the tv show America’s Got Talent.
*I got that gig because I got a random email from one of the people who staff the band asking if I would like to be on America’s Got Talent in the band.
*Once I started posting online about it, a friend reached out and said he told them about me and was glad I got the gig. I met him at my dad’s friend’s 70th birthday party. That guy was also a Berklee grad so we hit it off. He’s actually the music director for The Jonas Brothers now.
*Be open to have conversations. You never know who you are talking to. You never know what a conversation can lead to.
*Every opportunity I’ve gotten in L.A. has come through a connection with somebody.
*The book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People says there is primary greatness and secondary greatness.
*Personality ethic is the ability to be persuasive and eloquent in your speech, charismatic.
*Character ethic is who you are and the breadth of investment you made into the things that are virtues and values and your congruence to those things.
*Networking as a skill has value. To me it seems like a secondary greatness type of thing where I’m learning how to speak to people or market myself or position myself.
*The thing for me that has been more impactful has been building genuine relationships with people and interests in what they are doing and trying to figure what I can do to serve you at the time of meeting you.
*Put others before yourself.
*I write for commercials and tv projects through a company in Canada called Premium Beat.
*They pay you per track and you get to keep your writers share.
*If someone is doing what you want to do and you have the ability to reach out to them and tell them you love what they do, ask them if you can meet them and ask them 3 specific questions and buy them a cup of coffee, you never know what can come from that.
*If you do that kind of thing on a consistent basis, it can change your career.
*Decide who you want to be before you decide what you want to do.
*Focus on your character, your values, then as you approach what you do allow that to be a natural expression.
*In order for me to do anything great in life it will require discipline.
*Ultimately people will want to hire you because of your character.
*Following Jesus is what has made my life better and me better at life.
*Instagram – @jordancchilds
Jordan is a producer, composer, arranger, music director, multi-instrumentalist and thinker. Born and raised in Kingston, NY, Jordan is a self-described analytical creative and curator of vibrations. Jordan graduated from the prestigious Berklee College of Music in 2012 with a degree in Electronic Production in Sound Design. Now based in the Los Angeles area, Jordan has had the privilege of touring as the drummer for international pop star Bipolar Sunshine. Jordan has also had the opportunity to play drums for the Voice finalist, Chris Mann, and Glee star, Cheyenne Jackson. Jordan is also the keyboardist for ROK mobile artist, Maisy Kay, and recently returned from touring in Japan on keys with J-Pop superstar, Che’Nelle. In 2017, Jordan worked with filmmaker Scott Bahler to produce the score for a short-film entitled How To Be Lonely and Depressed which is set to be featured in festivals worldwide.